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Hi all,
I have a 200 litre (100 cm long, 50cm high, 30cm back) aquarium which has 6 harlequin rasboras, 9 rummeynose tetras, 4 SAEs and 7 Cardinal tetras. I have a Fluval U4 filter ( running on the top hose setting), 4 pieces of bog wood, and an Eheim heater ( the tank is normally 27-28 degrees C ( 80-82 degrees F)). We have 4 anubias in the tank, 1 cryptocoryne wendtii, 2 crinums , a Vallisneria Australia 'Gigantea' and an Ophiopogon. We also have some small floating plants, but not many. Our lights are 2 GLO POWER GLO 36"/91cm 30w T8. After every water change ( weekly, sometimes every two weeks or more) I sometimes put in 50 ml of MultiFit Plant Fertiliser (when I have it!) . This is the correct measurement for a 200 l aquarium. I also put some JBL Kugeln pro flora balls into the gravel.

The plants were doing well in the summer, but it seems like as the sunlight reduced going into the winter the plants got worse. Is it possible that getting less natural light made the plants get worse?

I was considering buying special lights to help plants grow. If anyone has any experience or opinions on this please share them!!馃槃馃悹. I was thinking of getting them as an Xmas present, but are these 'specialist' plant lights just a hoax? If not what brands would you recommend?

Thanks, and I look forward to getting any help!

Kieran
 

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Have you changed the original bulbs? I think it is highly likely that you are just due for a bulb change. If they were doing great in the summer with the existing bulbs, I would replace them with the same type bulbs. Every 6 months or so is about right for replacing light bulbs to ensure you are getting the spectrum quality you started with. I doubt the natural light change is having the impact you are describing.
 

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If you ask me, any successful planted tank should start with proper light for the right plants. After all, light is the source of energy for plants just like we eat to get our energy.

"Specialized" lights however are the one that emit around the blue (470 nm) and the red (665 nm) mainly, because this is what is important for photosynthesis. Plants are wasting the entire middle part of the spectrum, where the green is. With such a light, plants will look purple to the human eye, thus a full spectrum is often use along.

The newer light ratings of PAR versus watts/gallon is based on what is important for the plants and avoiding too much light.

There is nothing wrong with full spectrum bulbs only (whatever color temperature; plants don't care) but your tank will look like the computer screen I am staring at right now. People are using them all the time and if you look for them "outside" of our hobby, you will find them at a fraction of the price.
 

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look at the "k" ratings on the bulb and get 6500K bulbs.

Most "plant bulbs are really for land plants/greenhouses.

my .02
 
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